Sarah Palin on War & Peace
Republican Governor (AK); 2008 nominee for Vice President
She also pointedly noted: "Did we actually win in Iraq and Afghanistan before we waved the white flag? The jury is still out."
Of course, Palin is still Palin. At one point she said, "The Middle East is a tinderbox, and it is coming apart at the seams," which isn't wrong but is a slightly convoluted way of thinking about how those Old Tyme boxes actually worked.
"Until we have a commander in chief who knows what he is doing....let Allah sort it out!" she told the Faith and Freedom Coalition. The statement shows how far Palin has drifted from former running mate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is the chief Senate proponent of U.S. military action to help the Syrian rebels.
This week, the White House announced it had concluded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons against the rebels, thereby crossing a "red line." Obama has now decided to arm select elements of the Syrian rebellion.
A: When it comes to national security, as I ratchet down the message on national security, it's easy to just kind of sum it up by repeating Ronald Reagan when he talked about the Cold War. And we can apply this now to our war on terrorism, you know. Bottom line, we win, they lose. We do all that we can to win.
GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, "Our national leaders are sending US soldiers on a task that is from God." Are we fighting a holy war?
PALIN: You know, I don't know if that was my exact quote.
GIBSON: Exact words.
What Gibson claimed were Palin's "exact words" were nothing of the sort. Here are Palin's actual "exact words"--as quoted by NPR, no less: "Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right also for this country--that our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God's plan."
On Gibson's theory of an "exact quote" ABC's Charlie Gibson said "you're old" and "God, are we fighting a Holy War!" With some selective editing, those are "exact quotes," too.
The Facts:The US & Iraq are negotiating a status of forces agreement, which would spell out the details of US troop presence in Iraq after the UN mandate establishing their status expires at the end of the year.
A Washington Times article said Obama “tried to convince Iraqi leaders that the president shouldn’t be allowed to enact the deal without congressional approval.” It said Obama “urged Baghdad to delay an agreement until next year when a new president will be in office--a charge the Democratic campaign denies.”
The Verdict:In dispute. Both Obama and the Iraqi official with whom he had the conversation, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, deny Obama ever pushed for a delay.
PALIN: I am very thankful that we do have a good plan and the surge and the counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq that has proven to work, I know that the other ticket opposed this surge,
BIDEN: With all due respect, I didn’t hear a plan. Barack Obama offered a clear plan. Shift responsibility to Iraqis over the next 16 months. Draw down our combat troops. We’ll end this war. For John McCain, there’s no end in sight.
PALIN: Your plan is a white flag of surrender in Iraq and that is not what our troops need to hear today, that’s for sure. You guys opposed the surge. The surge worked. Barack Obama still can’t admit the surge works. We’ll know when we’re finished in Iraq when the Iraqi government can govern its people and when the Iraqi security forces can secure its people. And our commanders on the ground will tell us when those conditions have been met. We are getting closer and closer to that point, that victory that’s within sight.
PALIN: We can agree on that also, the support of the no-fly zone, making sure that all options are on the table there also. America is in a position to help. What I’ve done in my position as governor, when I and others in the legislature found out we had some millions of dollars in Sudan, we called for divestment through legislation of those dollars to make sure we weren’t doing anything that would be seen as condoning the activities there in Darfur. That legislation hasn’t passed yet but it needs to because all of us, as individuals, and as humanitarians and as elected officials should do all we can to end those atrocities in that region of the world.
The surge was announced in January 2007, at which point there were 132,000 troops in Iraq. As of September 2008, that number was 146,000. President Bush recently announced that another 8,000 would be coming home by February of next year. But even then, there still would be 6,000 more troops in Iraq than there were when the surge began.
Point Biden. Gen. McKiernan clearly did say that surge principles would not work in Afghanistan, stating, ”The word I don’t use for Afghanistan is ‘surge.’ “ McKiernan stressed instead a ”sustained commitment“ to a counterinsurgency effort that could last many years and would ultimately require a political, not military, solution. However, it is worth noting that McKiernan also said that Afghanistan would need an infusion of American troops ”as quickly as possible.“
A: Because we can’t afford to lose in Afghanistan, as we cannot afford to lose in Iraq, either, these central fronts on the war on terror. And I asked President Karzai, “Is that what you are seeking, also? That strategy that has worked in Iraq that John McCain had pushed for, more troops? A counterinsurgency strategy?” And he said, “yes.” And he also showed great appreciation for what America and American troops are providing in his country.
A: Retreat is not an option. Retreat is defeat in Iraq. Al Qaeda, they’re acknowledging even that Iraq is the central front on the War on Terror and the violent Islamic extremists who hate America would love that stronghold to be built in Iraq. If we were to lose there, we’re not going to be any better off when we fight in Afghanistan either, nor the other areas where terrorist cells are growing across our world.
A: I believe that under the leadership of Ahmadinejad, nuclear weapons in the hands of his government are extremely dangerous to everyone on this globe.
Q: So what should we do about a nuclear Iran?
A: We have got to make sure that nuclear weapons are not given to those hands of Ahmadinejad, not that he would use them, but that he would allow terrorists to be able to use them. So we have got to put the pressure on Iran.
Q: You believe it was unprovoked?
A: I do believe unprovoked and we have got to keep our eyes on Russia, under the leadership there.
A: They’re our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska. We cannot repeat the Cold War. We are thankful that, under Reagan, we won the Cold War, without a shot fired, also. We’ve learned lessons from that in our relationship with Russia, previously the Soviet Union. We will not repeat a Cold War. We must have good relationship with our allies, pressuring, also, helping us to remind Russia that it’s in their benefit, also, a mutually beneficial relationship for us all to be getting along.
A: Smaller democratic countries that are invaded by a larger power is something for us to be vigilant against. We’ve got to be cognizant of what the consequences are if a larger power is able to take over smaller democratic countries. And we have got to be vigilant. We have got to show the support, in this case, for Georgia. The support that we can show is economic sanctions perhaps against Russia, if this is wha it leads to. It doesn’t have to lead to war and it doesn’t have to lead to a Cold War, but economic sanctions, diplomatic pressure, counting on our allies to help us do that in this mission of keeping our eye on Russia and Putin and some of his desire to control and to control much more than smaller democratic countries. His mission, if it is to control energy supplies coming from and through Russia, that’s a dangerous position for our world to be in, if we were to allow that to happen.
A: Well, first, we are friends with Israel and I don’t think that we should second guess the measures that Israel has to take to defend themselves and for their security.
Q: So if we wouldn’t second guess it and they decided they needed to do it because Iran was an existential threat, we would cooperative or agree with that?
A: I don’t think we can second guess what Israel has to do to secure its nation.
Q: So if it felt necessary, if it felt the need to defend itself by taking out Iranian nuclear facilities, that would be all right?
A: We cannot second guess the steps that Israel has to take to defend itself.
A: We’re going to work with these countries, building new relationships, working with existing allies, but forging new ones also, in order to get to a point in this world where war is not going to be a first option. In fact, war has got to be, a military strike, a last option.
Q: But do we have the right to go across the border without the approval of the Pakistan?
A: In order to stop Islamic extremists, those terrorists who would seek to destroy America & our allies, we must do whatever it takes and we must not blink in making those tough decisions of where we go and even who we target.
Q: Is that a yes? That we have the right to go across the border?
A: I believe that America has to exercise all options in order to stop the terrorists who are hell bent on destroying America and our allies. We have got to have all options out there on the table.
McCAIN: Oh, no. Look, she has got the right judgment. She has got the right judgment. She doesn’t think, like Sen. Obama does, that Iran is a minor irritant. She knows that the surge worked and succeeded, and she supported that. Sen. Obama still refuses to acknowledge that the surge has succeeded. She has been commander-in-chief of the Alaska Guard. She has had the judgment on these issues while Sen. Obama has had all the wrong judgments. Gov. Palin understands these issues, and she understands the challenges that we face. She has the experience and judgment as an executive. She has run a huge economy up there in the state of Alaska. Twenty percent of our energy comes from the state of Alaska, and energy is obviously one of the key issues for our nation’s security.
McCAIN: Well, by the way, also she was a member of the PTA. I think it’s wonderful. But the point is she has been to Kuwait. She has been over there. She has been with her troops, the National Guard that she commands, who had been over there and had the experience. I’m proud of her knowledge of these challenges and issues.
Q: Why shouldn’t we think that this is really about politics, about reaching out to women, especially to Hillary Clinton supporters?
McCAIN: Well, I think that I had to do what I think is best for the future of the country. That’s the point here.
A: I’ve been so focused on state government, I haven’t really focused much on the war in Iraq. I heard on the news about the new deployments, and while I support our president, Condoleezza Rice and the administration, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place; I want assurances that we are doing all we can to keep our troops safe. Every life lost is such a tragedy. I am very, very proud of the troops we have in Alaska, those fighting overseas for our freedoms, and the families here who are making so many sacrifices.
KNOWLES: I will challenge that on behalf of the Alaska National Guard. They’ve served their time. They don’t need to be extended. They should understand at the top of the Pentagon, that they need a different strategy for this war.
PALIN: I would certainly have to encourage Don Rumsfeld to please look elsewhere when you consider the sacrifices already made. However, I do support our troops and I thank god that we have a voluntary military right now. Bottom line, I do support our troops and I do support our president, and we know that since Sept. 2001, we have not had an attack on American soil and for that we should be ever thankful, grateful, praying for our troops for the safety that they are providing us.
KNOWLES: I think the record books are fairly clear, that there’s a lot of concerns on the basis, the reasons that were given for going to war, were not justified. We’re not going to second guess and say yes I know what we should do. All I know is that we should pray for a strategy that brings our troops home at the earliest possible time.
PALIN: I think that all Americans agree that every life lost there in Iraq and Afghanistan, it profoundly touches us all. And again, as I said in my previous answer, I do support our troops, I support the mission there, that the idea of keeping the enemy outside of our borders.
PALIN: In the past five years, there hasn’t been a successful terrorist strike on United States soil and that’s no accident. It is our gratitude that we need to show to our military, to our troops for keeping us safe.
I support them being over there. I support our president. I support our military. But of course, I want to see that exit strategy being developed and being revealed to our public.
This hits me near and dear to my heart as I’m raising teenagers. A 17-year-old son who is interested in the military. Of course, you know I think about it every day, if that were my son or my daughter over there. I want our troops to come home safely.
A: I support President Bush’s efforts to stop terrorism by taking the fight to the terrorists. In the Iraq war, I would like to see the president develop an exit strategy to get our troops home
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